After three years as an understudy, Matt Terwilliger is taking on a leading role
As the senior year for a college student begins to wind down, he or she usually reflects on the prior three and a half years they have spent at the school. The same applies for college student-athletes.
Matt Terwilliger, a senior on the Ohio State men’s basketball team, sure has lots of fond memories to draw from. The Troy Ohio, native, along with fellow seniors Jamar Butler and Othello Hunter, currently sit atop Ohio State’s all-time career wins leader board. Terwilliger plans on adding to his lead with a few more victories as the business end of the season approaches.
“It’s obviously a huge accomplishment and I’m really proud of it,” Terwilliger said. Coach (Matta) talks to us about that all the time. We want to keep going and build it up so no body can pass us.”
Last season played a large part in helping Terwilliger, Butler and Hunter climb the wins chart. The Buckeyes compiled a 35-4 record en route to the national championship game against Florida.
“The run we went on last season was great,” Terwilliger said. “It was awesome to be a part of something like that. Not many players can say they played in a Final Four or Championship game.”
In his time at Ohio State, Terwilliger has faced not only some of the best players in the Big Ten, but some of the best in the country. And that was just in practice. The last three years an Ohio State center has either been named Big Ten Player of the Year, or has been selected to the all-conference team. Former Buckeye Terrance Dials was a junior when Terwilliger was a freshman and last season he had to guard the No. 1 over pick in the 2007 NBA Draft in Greg Oden. Terwilliger said both players had outstanding talent, but in different ways.
“Terrance (Dials) was really polished,” Terwilliger said. “He had all these fundamental offensive moves. You could guard him perfectly and he could still complete the shot. Greg (Oden) was just so athletic and was such an unbelievable talent. I guarded him before he got to the paint. Because once he got down there, there was nothing I could do. He would just turn and dunk, so I had to just let him do his thing.”
Playing with such high caliber players left his mark on Terwilliger. He credits them with helping improve his own game. Dials and Oden would share some of their secrets with him on the offensive and defensive sides of the court.
When Terwilliger arrived at Ohio State, he looked to former players such as Matt Sylvester and Dials for guidance and advice. Now, four years later, he is the one the young players turn to.
“I just try to take what I’ve learned during my time here and pass it on to the young guys,” Terwilliger said. “Balancing things on and off the court is the toughest transition coming out of high school.”
As the curtain drops on a stellar four year career, Terwilliger said the thing he will miss most are his teammates.
“The team camaraderie here is unbelievable,” Terwilliger said. “We’re like a family. When I see guys that used to be on the team we pick up things like no time has passed. Not being able to come and see these guys everyday is going to be tough.”
Needless to say his teammates will echo those sentiments when Terwilliger’s days in the Scarlet and Gray are through. And when that happens, one thing is for sure that he made the most of them.